Work together, VFF urges

By Country News

By Andrew Leahy (VFF Water Council deputy chairman)

and Paul Mundy (VFF Water Council member)

It is unfortunate that the Victorian Farmers Federation again needs to spend time in setting the record straight.

The Northern Victorian Irrigation Communities has taken aim at the VFF, suggesting we do not support greater water market transparency.

This is mischievously incorrect.

The VFF has prepared numerous submissions to both state and federal governments on the need for greater transparency in the water market.

In fact our submissions included more than 15 recommendations to improve water market transparency.

The VFF believe anyone purchasing allocation must also have a water use licence; this prevents speculators buying up water who have no interest in agriculture.

The VFF is being criticised by NVIC for not including market transparency in our 10 point-plan to fix the Murray-Darling Basin Plan released last year.

There is a simple reason for this. The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has been charged with responding to water market issues. Not the MDBA (Murray-Darling Basin Authority).

Our 10-point plan includes long-standing policy positions that focus purely on the basin plan.

Key points include: abandoning the 450 Gl, no buybacks, improved compliance in the northern basin, improved science with the Lower Lakes and building lock zero.

The VFF believes that Victorian irrigators and communities will pay the price if we do not speak with a united voice.

The misinformation and petty sniping that is happening now must stop.

The essential advocacy for our irrigation communities must not be fractured and torn apart leaving governments to pick and choose the bits that most suit them.

We must not be divided and conquered.

Local members of the VFF have spoken with NVIC to ensure Victoria has a consistent approach and damaging accusations cease.

The VFF is determined to focus on the big policy issues and will continue to fight for fair outcomes for our Victorian irrigators and regional communities.